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Scripture Reading:  1 Corinthians 4:14-21

(Part 4)

God Has Spoken: A Study of Bible Authority

(How to Establish Bible Authority)


1.  Godís ways, revealed in Godís word, are sufficient to accomplish Godís purposes.  2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3  (see Part 3)

2.  How do we know what is authorized & what isnít?  (Col. 3:17)

3.  God has given us a pattern by which we establish authority in religious matters, Heb. 8:5; 1 Cor. 4:17.

4.  Our task is to properly use Godís authoritative word (know & obey), Eph. 3:3-4; 2 Tim. 2:15.

5.  Unless we know how to establish & apply Bible authority we will not be able to ďhold fast the pattern of sound wordsĒ (2 Tim. 1:13).



  A.  Command or Direct Statement in the New Testament (Christ or inspired teacher).

    1.  Command, cf. Mk. 16:15.

    2.  Direct statement, cf. Mk. 16:16.

    3.  Illustrate:  Lordís Supper Ė What to do, 1 Cor. 11:24-25.

  B.  Apostolic Approved Example in the New Testament.

    1.  Imitate (lit., ďbecomeĒ) PaulÖmy ways in ChristÖ, 1 Cor. 4:16-17.

      a. Direct statement (command) to do so, 1 Cor. 11:1.

      b. Follow the apostolic pattern (example), Phil. 3:17; 4:9.

    2.  The consistent pattern of doctrine & practice for individual Christians & congregations, under apostolic teaching & guidance (cf. Acts 2:42).

    3.  Illustration of apostolic approved example:  Lordís Supper Ė When to eat, Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:20, 33.

  C.  Necessary Inference from the New Testament (a conclusion that is necessary based on the supplied information).

    1.  ďThat which, though neither expressly stated nor specifically exemplified, [yet] is necessarily implied by the clear import & meaning of the language used.Ē  (Walking by Faith, Cogdill, 14) - This accords with what we find in Scripture.

      a. Example:  Matt. 3:16 Ė We necessarily infer Jesus went down into the water.

      b. Illus:  Lordís Supper Ė How often to eat it, 1 Cor. 11:20, 33; Acts 20:7 (cf. Exo. 20:8).

    2.  Necessary inference is inescapable, notÖ

      a. Merely a reasonable inference, Jno. 21:21-23.

      b. Merely what we would like to infer, Matt. 12:24 (14); Jno. 7:24.

    3.  A necessary inference in the Scriptures is a conclusion for which there is no alternative (from which there is no escape; no other conclusion can be Scripturally drawn).

    4.  Jesus used NI to teach the truth:

      a. Matt. 22:31-32:  Jesus drew a necessary inference from the tense of a verb that affirms the truth of resurrection (see its weight of authority, Matt. 22:29). 

      b. Matt. 19:3-6:  Jesus used necessary inference to affirm one cannot put away for ďany reason.Ē

    5.  Inspired writers of the New Testament used necessary inference to teach truth, Heb. 7:12.

    6.  Jesus expects us to correctly use necessary inferences, Mk. 2:9-11; Lk. 12:54-59.

         -cf. Jno. 9:30-33:  Man used NI to conclude Jesus was from God.



  A.  Authority in Question:  Must Gentiles be Circumcised & Commanded to Keep the Law of Moses in Order to be Saved?  (15:1, 5)

    1.  Apostolic example of Gentile salvation without the LOM, 15:7-11 (14:3).

    2.  Necessary inference, 15:12.  (Miracles accompanied conversion of Gentile obedience to the gospel without the LOM, therefore, Godís approval is necessarily inferred.)

    3.  Direct statement of Scripture proves Gentiles are called & saved by the gospel of Christ without the LOM, 15:13-19.

  B.  Any One of these Ways to Establish NT Authority is Sufficient to Prove Godís Binding Authority.

    1.  Do not need all three ways to establish authority present before anything is authorized (i.e., before binding authority exists):

      a. Example:  Any one was enough to establish Godís authority on Gentile salvation without the LOM (Acts 15:7-19).

      b. cf. Lordís Supper (Acts 20:7):  Without necessary inference we have no authority for how often to eat it.

      c. cf. Giving (1 Cor. 16:2):  Without NI we have no authority to lay by in store every Sunday.



1.  Without a God-approved way to establish Bible authority we will never be able to do all things in the name of Christ (Col. 3:17); Everyone will go their own way, not Godís (Matt. 7:21-23).

2.  God has also revealed the nature of Bible authority (our next study).